RIDER SAFETY AND WELFARE WILL ALWAYS TAKE PRIORITY
* Abandoning the event was a difficult but absolutely the right decision
Tuesday, 18 July: Race Marketing & Management and the World Gravity Sports Federation will meet later this week to hold urgent talks to ‘reassess protocols and the implementing of robust safeguards to prevent such occurrences in future events’ after taking the decision to abandon proceedings at the opening round of this year’s World Downhill Skateboarding Championship in Nusenna, Italy, last weekend.
“Rider safety and welfare is our absolute priority, and whilst taking the decision to abandon the event was a very difficult one, ultimately it was the right one,” said RMM’s Selim Kemahli.
“Yes, we were repeatedly let down by the local organiser, but as promoter and federation it is ultimately our responsibility, and we will look closely at our ‘protocols and who we appoint at local level to work with’ to ensure this situation does not happen again.
“We understand the negative reaction and comments from some riders but thank those, especially the riders who were with us last year, for their full support and understanding of our actions.
The statement issued by the WGSF reads:
“Following the events at Nusenna, we, the World Gravity Sports Federation (WGSF), find it necessary to address some urgent concerns. Our paramount responsibility is ensuring safety, and it’s with deep regret that we had to withdraw our sanctioning of the event due to significant concerns related to this principle.
“The lack of professionalism and control demonstrated by the local organisers, characterised by constant shouting and inability to foster calm discussions, left us deeply troubled.
“There were alarmingly similar signs to the situation the community suffered in 2018.
“Additionally, the welfare conditions for the riders were inadequate at best. The absence of essential facilities like toilets, water, and sufficient shade in the brutal 40C heat is unacceptable and contradicts our commitment to athlete welfare.
“The local event staff’s behaviour – from throwing objects to physically intimidating WGSF and WDSC team members – displayed a complete disregard for the standards of respect and decency we expect at our events.
“We entered yesterday [Sunday] with optimism and the intent to provide a memorable experience for all. It is incredibly disappointing that despite our best efforts, we were confronted with an organizational failure that left us with no choice but to retract our endorsement.
“We want to assure everyone that we are taking this situation very seriously. We are currently reassessing our protocols and will be implementing robust safeguards to prevent such occurrences in future events.
“We deeply appreciate your understanding and continued support during this challenging time. Our commitment to upholding the standards of gravity sports events worldwide remains stronger than ever.”